Those of who know me know that I have a thing for Nina Simone. She was an amazing artist. She was incredibly talented, and versatile. She wrote, sang, played piano and had one of the most unique voices I think I have ever heard. It’s a combination between Tina Turner and Janice Joplin. She was in simplest eras an amazing performer. But there’s another reason I am so fond of her. She was an artist who stood up. She used her voice and her talent to support and further the civil rights cause. She did so to her detriment. She lost gigs, money and in the end she left the country so she could support herself and her family. Even in the throws of tremendous emotional pain, she performed freedom songs. That is an artist using her voice, her talent to support and further the education and uplift of her people.
Fast forward to Jada Smith and Beyoncé. Now don’t get me wrong, I like them both. Jada is a talented actress, who I think hasn’t really been given something to sink her teeth into. Beyoncé may not have the most mesmerizing voice of all time, but she’s a business woman. She took a small amount of success and parlayed it into a mega business. While I agree totally with Jada’s rant about the Oscars, I think it was motivated by the fact that she thought Will should have been nominated for Concussion. Let me tell you, I loved Beyonce’s performance during the super bowl. LOVED IT! I loved her o mage to the Black Panthers. Who by the way deserved it, and more. The Panthers was a grass roots organization that protected, educated, and stood up for their people when they realized the established government and police force wasn’t going to.
My problem with both of them is that they waited until they could get something out of it before they stood up. Jada and Will have their own production company. What have they done to make sure black film makers get their voices heard? Nothing. Beyoncé and JayZ own multiple companies. The newest addition being a online music company like Spotify. If you go look at the photo they took on the day they took over…not one black person working there. Not one! These are two artists who have benefited from the black community’s support, and have done almost nothing to give back unless it helped them in the process. That is not support. That is using our support to make money. That is taking advantage of the hundreds of black boys and girls whose lives were ended because of the color of their skin to further fatten their bank accounts. And that disgusts me to no end.
Nina Simone, Langston Hughes, Harry Belafonte, James Baldwin were artists that used their talents to uplift their people. Those are the people we should admire. Those are the types of artists that we should all strive to be. Jada and Beyoncé are simply two fools who thought they were beyond reach. They thought they were so beloved that the amount of melanin in their skin wouldn’t matter. All I can say to that is…they should’ve known better. And all the rest of y’all better stay woke.